That’s what it costs to settle a class-action lawsuit these days.
Hyundai and Kia are two brands on a tremendous run of fine form. In the last decade, they've gone from second-rate commuters to class leaders in numerous segments, producing CarBuzz favorites like the Kia Soul. But over the last two years, a problem has been brewing, as investigations have been underway regarding engine fires in the brands' vehicles equipped with the Theta II GDI engine - an engine used in top sellers like the Hyundai Sonata sedan and Hyundai Tucson. Just this year, the NHTSA opened a new investigation into three million Hyundai and Kia vehicles after reports of more than 3,000 fires occurring, injuring more than 100 people.
Despite the pair of brands recalling over 1.6 million vehicles in the United States alone, reports in recent years suggest that Hyundai and Kia didn't recall as many cars as they should've and that they didn't ensure the recalls were effected swift enough.
With class action litigation pending, Hyundai and Kia are looking to get ahead of the eight ball, though, as the two brands have earmarked a collective $760 million to settle the litigation as quickly and as peacefully as possible. Hyundai and Kia have issued a statement on the matter and said that they would install software to monitor for symptoms of engine failure.
This is just one avenue they're pursuing, as other steps include offering various compensation options and lifetime warranties such as cash reimbursement for past repairs and related expenses (towing and rental cars included), cash compensation for past trade-ins in lieu of repairs, free inspection and repair/replacement of damaged engines, and various goodwill compensations.
All in, 4.17 million Hyundai and Kia models will be affected by the US settlement, all of which make use of the GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) versions of the Theta II gasoline engine in either 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter versions. Affected vehicles include 2.3 million Hyundais (2011-2019 Sonata, 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Santa Fe, and 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019 Tucson) and 1.8 million Kias (2011-2019 Optima, Sportage, and Sorento).
The setting aside of funds to deal with the problem is the first major move made by the pair of manufacturers to resolve several years' worth of trouble over the engine defects. While it should be enough to get prosecutors and US safety regulators off their backs, how they handle the situation going forward will be under close scrutiny.